Interactive Web Conferencing

Thousands of companies use interactive web conferencing to communicate with clients and employees all over the world through live video feed on a website. This technology allows a worldwide business with an office in London and an office in New York to communicate between offices as if there is no distance. Video allows both parties to see each other and speak to each other in real time. Many types of businesses use this technology today. Schools, museums, and other educational organizations use web conferencing to share information and teach classes to students across states or even countries. Many other types of businesses use this technology for meetings, seminars, and training. Military branches even use this communication means to touch base with family and friends across oceans. "As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man" (Proverbs 27:19). With many choices out there, shoppers can find free or affordable web based video conferencing means by searching the Internet and knowing what to look for.

An Internet search for interactive web conferencing will turn up a large number of hits, so it's important to understand the differences between the two primary types of conferencing. There is web based and network video conferencing. Web based systems use the Internet as the primary platform for transferring video from one computer to another. The conference must be accessed through an Internet browser. With network conferencing, the two parties access each other through a shared network on a T1 or other digital line. Therefore, shoppers searching for web based conferencing will need to look specifically for products that use an Internet browser and website. This means that the virtual meeting can only take place when both parties have some kind of Internet access. The search for these products will tend to lead to free services. Many websites host video conferences and only require that customer become members of the site. Additional services have prices attached. These free services are definitely worth test driving for casual conferencing. For frequent and formal conferences, paid services may be the better option as they offer more features for more elaborate communicating.

When looking at web based video conferencing with a price tag, making the choice has a lot to do with the purpose of the product. For teachers who would like to teach students in another location, there are products out there designed for classroom use. Other products are designed for multiple conference parties, such as four locations connecting at once. Customers will need to decide just how sophisticated of a product is needed. The product may need to include the ability to view another computer application in another location as well as display video of a group of people. Prices will vary from $30 per month from a several-thousand-dollar, one-time fee. Others will offer a pay-per-use option which works for smaller companies who only use the conferencing a few times per year. Overall, the customer needs to be able to view examples and demos before making any purchase. The quality and speed of the system will make a big difference in how effective meetings are.

Despite what interactive web conferencing product the customer chooses, there is the additional need for hardware. First, the customer must be sure that the computers involved can support the conference. The Internet connection needs to support the amount of bandwidth coming through. Otherwise, there will be an obvious delay in the video and a poor connection. Also, each computer needs speakers and a microphone. Most computer packages include speakers, but for those who don't have them, they can be purchased online or in a warehouse store for as little as $15. Earphones are an even less expensive alternative. Microphones can also be purchased both online and in local warehouse or electronics stores. Prices vary depending on the brand name. Some customers prefer to just combine these pieces of hardware by purchasing a headset with a built-in microphone.

Purchasing a good web camera is very important for web based video conferencing because it will have a lot to do with the quality of the picture. With such a large variety on the market, prices are all over the map. Shoppers will want to compare products from brands that they trust. Most cameras are perfectly compatible with any conference product the customer chooses. It may seem like a minor factor, but be sure that the web cam can be properly attached to the computer's monitor. This is often an easily forgotten consideration. For customers who plan to use the camera often, it never hurts to buy one with special features like zoom or motion sensing. Other cameras may not handle low light very well. In this case, the customer needs to consider a better model or light his space better. Most electronics stores will have an area set up with web cams running, so customers can see the product first hand. From there, the customer can compare prices both online and through different local stores.

Interactive web conferencing has taken the technological world by storm. With gas prices at an all-time high, some companies have decided to work with telecommuting employees through conference tools. It's reached the point that company managers have secretaries working for them on the other side of the country. This amazing technology makes it possible to not only speak with people hundreds or even thousands of miles away but to see them and share tools together. This is why it's so important to choose the right product. Recommendations from other business people, Internet customer reviews, and brand comparisons can all be helpful in narrowing down the search. Once the shopper decides on three possibilities, contacting the companies is the next step. Testing out web based video conferencing demos, talking with representatives, and getting quotes will help lead to the best decision.

Web Based Conferencing

Web based conferencing makes it easy to meet with colleagues who are located in various places around a city, a country or even around the globe. Participants will find it easy to interact with other participants, share screens, and chat with one another. Using online web conferencing can save a multitude in time and travel expenses. Most programs and formats provide security and privacy for each member. Some software works well with other programs to allow for easy access to calendars and other needed formats. The price of online plans is usually based upon the number of participants who will be joining the meeting. Some important considerations for picking the right plan is to consider the needs of the meeting whether audio communication is needed and if the program needs to work with presentation software or if a collaboration tool is needed to be able to instant message other participants.

Application sharing allows members to interact with one another whether they are sharing high resolution images or displaying presentations. Web based conferencing allows members to share the same desktop. Interactive whiteboards can display hand written notes, drawings, various screen images, and any other graphics that might be useful to share during a conference. Whiteboards can also be used for brain storming sessions allowing participants to become more involved with interaction. Adding screen sharing allows attendees to get more out of the sessions. Sessions become more collaborative for teams who need to work together on projects. "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deuteronomy 6:7). Whether communication is between colleagues or subordinates, online web conferencing should be done as effectively as possible.

Online meetings makes audio communication possible by using VoIP (voice over IP) applications. This allows a person to perform a lecture during a meeting and participants to ask questions. For VoIP technology to work well the Internet connection needs to be faster than dial up and preferably be broadband. VoIP software works well to provide voice, audio, and video to a virtual conference room. Some programs come with filtering capability to filter out intrusion content. Animation can be used in presentations using VoIP software. This can really add to the message that is trying to be represented in a conference that is being conducted over the Internet.

Features that add to the online meeting experience can be so attractive that companies may choose to never have an onsite meeting again. Web based conferencing features that come with some software packages include highlight keys to use as a pointer for presentations, a marker tool to emphasize key points in various colors, the ability to transfer files, chat with attendees, the ability to send a summary of the meeting to each participants email address, and the ability to record the conference. Some programs allow the viewer to enlarge the size of the screen and adjust the screen to compensate for slower Internet connections. One of the key components with managing an online meeting is the capability of viewing the participants as they join and knowing when they leave. This allows the meeting holder to know who is attending the conference.

Live demonstrations, product demos, surveys, case studies, presentations, sales meetings, and more can all be done through online web conferencing. A user can set up to have anyone they want to view the meeting, from co-workers to customers and colleagues, to anyone that would benefit from the communication. Perhaps a company wants to show a new product demo to their customers. This can be done by sending an online email invitation to join the demonstration on a specific time and date just by providing an email user name and clicking on to join the meeting. A user may want to record the meeting ahead of time and then allow the customer to view it on their own timetable, when it is most convenient for them to do so. The invitation sent to customers might make attending more attractive by offering them a discount on the new product.

Employers who want to take advantage of conducting online meetings whenever needed might choose to find web based conferencing that is billed based upon a flat rate instead of per meeting or per attendee. Anytime conferencing makes it easy for an employer to set up a meeting on a whim or when important information needs to be transmitted to employees quickly and effectively. Employers may also choose to do all training sessions online and may have one or two a week or even more when they are billed on a flat rate. Using this method of training can be very cost effective especially if employees or sales personnel are often out in the field trying to sell or find new business. This allows them to hook in to the meeting with their wireless connection wherever they happen to be located at the time.

Some features may be more important than others depending upon the company's needs or on what is preferred with online web conferencing. During a meeting there may be a need to switch who the presenter is or a user may want to share keyboard and mouse control. A user may choose to use drawing tools, or only share a particular application with one attendee. These are some of the options that can be made available with online conferencing. Another popular feature is being able to put together reports of the meeting. Programs that offer reporting tools include ways to get detailed reports to attendees for their use so that the information of the meeting is available to them whenever they might need it. For more information on web based conferencing do a search online and find out the many ways technology has made it possible to communicate effectively through virtual meetings.

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